UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Hopes are high for the opening of peace talks on Yemen later this week, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday, with reports the Houthi rebels have already left for such a meeting in Sweden.
The last attempt for a session in Geneva involving representatives of the Houthi and the Yemeni government were dashed when the rebels failed to show up.
"It's nice to think that things are moving," Deputy UN Spokesman Farhan Haq responded when asked for the latest on Yemen. "I am hopeful that things are moving."
"The UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths is due to arrive in Stockholm this evening," Haq told reporters at a regular briefing. "The preparations are ongoing to convene the political consultations. We are confident that the two parties will meet this week in Sweden."
"Beyond that let's see when we can make any further announcements," Haq added.
Yemen's Houthi rebel negotiators accompanied by visiting UN envoy Griffiths left the rebel-held capital Sanaa for Stockholm on a Kuwaiti plane earlier on Tuesday to attend the upcoming peace talks, a Xinhua reporter at the airport witnessed.
No exact date has been announced for the start of the negotiations that would be the first peace talks since 2016.
Griffiths' office in Jordanian capital of Amman has told Xinhua that the talks in Stockholm would likely start in the next few days.
While the UN spokesman was hopeful about political consultations, the first discussions were expected to be about getting humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, under imminent threat of famine because of the war.
"Yemen is on the brink of a major catastrophe," UN Undersecretary-General Mark Lowcock, emergency relief coordinator and head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said after his latest visit to Yemen.